IRELAND won a record number of investments from multinational firms in 2011, new figures have revealed.
IDA Ireland, the company responsible for securing direct foreign investment to the country, announced that 148 new investments were won across all industry sectors last year.
Chief executive Barry O'Leary said this success was despite the gloomy economic situation worldwide.
"Ireland continued to win significant foreign direct investment in 2011, despite a difficult economic environment," said Mr O'Leary.
"Most encouraging has been the increase in job numbers and the rise in the number of investments from IDA client companies."
More than 13,000 new jobs were created by IDA client companies in 2011 - a 20pc increase from the 10,897 created in 2010.
The 148 investments secured by IDA was a rise of 17pc on the previous year, with 61 of those from multinational companies investing in Ireland for the first time, and 87 made by existing client companies.
Twitter, Intel, IBM, PayPal, Coca-Cola and Pfizer were among the organisations to make a significant investment.
"Export-led growth, particularly in services, is adding to the employment portfolio of IDA's clients, which created over 13,000 new jobs in 2011," Mr O'Leary went on.
However, with job losses in the multinational sector the net increase was just over 6,000.
"This represents a 20pc increase on last year. Job losses were at their lowest in over a decade leading to the best net jobs increase in over 10 years.
"The ICT, life sciences, financial services, business services and digital media sectors made up for the majority of the new jobs."
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton welcomed the results.
"Not only has the number of new jobs increased substantially, but just as importantly the number of jobs lost has decreased, leaving a very healthy net employment increase," said Mr Bruton.
New figures released by the Central Statistics Office showed that the number of people on the Live Register fell by 3,300 to 443,200 last month.
The data also showed that the unemployment rate fell slightly to 14.3pc from 14.4pc in November.
Mr Bruton added that the Government's action plan for jobs will build on the success of last year's foreign investment.
"If we are to create the numbers of new jobs we need in order to address the massive employment challenges we face, we must build aggressively on the major strengths we have in the foreign multinational sector," said Mr Bruton.
"Through this month's Action Plan for Jobs I will be using these strengths both to support our indigenous companies and to attract ever more dynamic multinational operations to Ireland. In this way we can ensure that we build on 2011's major achievements and address the jobs crisis in a real way."